Terminal blood cancer diagnosis hasn't stopped Plymouth man from living life

By the time Paris Jones had learned of his diagnosis, it was too late. 

There is no cure for multiple myeloma, a variant of blood cancer that forms in plasma cells. And Jones, a father and resident of Plymouth, learned about his condition after it had already reached an advanced stage. 

"It was mind-blowing," Paris said, after learning of the sickness that was growing inside him. "Just to eat food, change my clothes - it was very tough - but I had to relearn to do all that stuff again."

Paris is just 40 years old. He's lived a successful life as a DJ, actor, and filmmaker. He was living the dream until life decided it had different plans for him. At the time, him and his wife had two kids, a daughter at 2 and a son at 6.

The life-altering news has shaken the family. But it's not the end of the story.

The family first sought out treatment options like those offered at the Blood Cancer Foundation of Michigan. They also provide emotional support, education, and reimbursement for travels for treatment.

But another issue got in the way: The Jones family's insurance wouldn't help.

"His insurance didn't cover his treatment and so at stage 4 he was in a very difficult situation," said Heidi Grix, the president and CEO foundation.

It's not unusual for that to happen, Grix said. Many of the 5,900 residents in Michigan diagnosed with blood cancer don't have coverage. 

Backed by the support came a newly-determined Paris, set on the diagnosis not being the end.

"Every time something came up he would just be like 'I'm just happy to be alive'," said Alison Jones, his wife who also works as his caretaker, "and one day he said it and I said ‘we need to put it on a t-shirt'."

The pitch to apparel has since broadened into a larger awareness campaign about being proactive about one's health.

"Go get checked out," he said. "That's one thing I didn't do I wish I woulda done it sooner and I probably wouldn't be affected so hard."

"One of Paris' goals is to create awareness among people of color to get their health checked, be proactive, make sure you don't wait until things are in an advanced stage," said Grix.

That's where the birth of Alive and Kind began, bringing a mission to spread hope and kindness. A portion of the proceeds goes back to the foundation as well.

If you or someone you know was recently diagnosed, you can call (248) 530-3000 or go to the website. Learn more about the campaign here.